Marco Mendoza + Silent Thieves + Bad Actress + Nitroville

Sunday 13th November 2022

The Underworld, Camden, London

It has been a few years of Covid bans and so it is only now that tours are starting to return to normal, albeit with many fans still scared of venturing out meaning that attendances are still down on what they used to be. Hopefully this will change over the coming months.

Starting the evening was the duo, Silent Thieves, who delivered a short, sweet set, including 'Half Way Gone' and 'If We Were Lovers', but it was their final song, a Neil Young cover in 'Keep On Rocking In The Free World' which finally won the crowd over.

Following on from the ‘duo’ concept we were treated to a full on Rock Show, delivered magnificently by (new to me) Scottish band Bad Actress. Some will hate the reference point of Steel Panther, but with that sort of attitude, they won’t go far wrong. Kicking off with 'Poison Snake' and 'Mama Ain’t Talking', they lifted the crowd both with their attitude and stage presence, not to mention their musical prowess. Most impressive! 'Red Hot' kept up the pressure and before long and much too soon, they were announcing their final number: 'Hot Stuff'! A great young band with a lot of promise and dare I say it, Scotland's worthy Rock successors to Nazareth? Great stuff and they would be back later…

This brought on Nitroville” another band that has been absent for far too long. A slightly rejigged band since I last saw them, pre-Covid. But with Brexit, they have had to make a few changes, but Tola, Kurt and Paolo remain as the core of the band and that is a good thing!

Kicking off with 'Ransom Game' followed straight away by 'Shake Me Awake', they showed that they have not been affected by the worlds problems, instead, they sounded as fresh as ever. 'Engine, Ain’t No Stopping' moved straight on to 'Dark Texas' before diving into 'Coming On Strong'. Before I’d even realised it, they launched into their final track of the set: 'Pit Lane Fire'. Albeit far too short of a set, we were treated to a couple of new tracks and a smattering of old, but which ever way you look at it, they were forced into a ridiculously short set. Until the next time …

Finally, we got to the headliner: Marco Mendoza. This journeyman has featured in a number of big bands over the years including Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and The Dead Daisies, before going solo, amongst others (and those are just the bands I’ve seen him with!). This time he was backed by an Eastern European guitarist and drummer and bloody good they were too! He always manages to find great musicians on their way up (he even employed an old Swedish friend of mine: Sam Soderlind just before lockdown kicked in!).

This time, it was a tour in support of his latest album: 'New Direction' along with a few old faves slotted in for good measure. Most notably 'Hey Baby', which I had seen him do since his days with “The Nuge”! Showing my age unfortunately…. The set was nicely mixed with some other older tracks and the new album. A great song selection too. This was enhanced by the re-emergence of some of the band Bad Actress for a couple of tracks at the end of the set and they also re-energised the already hyped up band.

Lots of fun all round, although I still think that four bands on a Sunday night, is rather pushing things a bit.

Thanks, as always, Marco! Always the star!

Tim Russell